Bruce Bowen Rips Kawhi Leonard for Making 'Excuses' in Relationship with Spurs

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2018

Former San Antonio Spurs player Bruce Bowen interacts with participants of basketball clinics in Kolkata, India, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. Bowen, the NBA legend, is on a week-long visit to the country to conduct basketball clinics for players and coaches and interact with fans, according to local reports. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Bikas Das/Associated Press

Bruce Bowen isn't a fan of the way Kawhi Leonard has acted toward the San Antonio Spurs

Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio Thursday night (h/t ESPN.com), the former Spurs swingman said "there's nothing but excuses going on" as Leonard continues to try and force a trade with one year remaining on his contract. 

"First, it was, 'Well I was misdiagnosed.' Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they're trying to rush you? You didn't play for the most part a full season this year," Bowen said. "And you're the go-to guy, you're the franchise, and you want to say that they didn't have your best interest at heart? Are you kidding me?"

Leonard, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, appeared in nine games last season because of a nagging quad injury and traveled to New York in the middle of the 2017-18 campaign to seek treatment away from the team. 

"As a player, if I'm a leader of a team, my team goes on the road in the playoffs, I'm with my guys," Bowen said. "Because that's what it's all about. It's about camaraderie. It's about fellowship. It's a brotherhood. When that didn't happen, it's all kinds of sirens and alarm signals that says to me, 'Is this person fully vested?' ... I don't want to take on a player who's not willing to support his guys during the course of their time needing him."

According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, Leonard "wants a trade to Los Angeles, preferably the Lakers over the Clippers" and "will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intention is to sign in Los Angeles when he can become a free agent in 2019."

For now, though, the Spurs don't appear intent on shipping Leonard to Southern California. Wojnarowski and Shelburne reported San Antonio is "unlikely to be motivated to facilitate a deal to the Lakers," and general manager RC Buford said Thursday that the front office will do everything to keep Leonard in the fold. 

"He is under contract for another year," Buford said, according to the San Antonio Express-News. "Our goal is to keep him as part of our program for a long time."

If Leonard stays in San Antonio, he will be eligible for a five-year, $219 million supermax extension. 

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